Students will learn sustainable building principles at a seriously green new academic building at Universidad EAN. The 215,278 square foot building in Bogotá, Colombia will feature the endlessly reusable and recyclable WonderFrame shade structure, designed by Cradle to Cradle founder William McDonough. The modular system includes perforated panels that can both shade and allow daylight to filter through, almost like tree leaves. Inhabitat spoke with McDonough and lead architect Roger Schickedantz about the building, called Project Legacy, which is McDonough’s first Cradle to Cradle-inspired signature building in Latin America.

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McDonough originally designed the WonderFrame as a temporary structure at the 2016 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Schickedantz said at Universidad EAN, 11.5 by 8.6 foot modules will be anchored to the facade of Project Legacy. Each module includes around 30 perforated, painted steel sheet triangles. While this WonderFrame is intended to be permanent, Schickedantz said it could be deconstructed and put together somewhere else as the WonderFrame is put together with bolts. Shade panels can also be moved around in the frame to change the way light enters the building.

Related: INHABITAT INTERVIEW: Green Architect & Cradle to Cradle Founder William McDonough

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“WonderFrame is based on experiments we’ve been doing for inexpensive structural solutions for roofs and floors that are invisible,” McDonough told Inhabitat. “Here, it is used as a delightful skin of human expression. It allows for flexible adaptation for color, for solar collectors, for light and shade. Someday, perhaps even for planters.”

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The WonderFrame will blanket roughly 85 percent of the building’s facade, making it the largest installation of the system so far. And the design is meant to reflect Colombian culture.

Schickedantz told Inhabitat, “Colombia has a rich indigenous culture which celebrates color and pattern. The shade pattern designed for the WonderFrame provides a modern, graphically expressive interpretation… The WonderFrame establishes a dialogue with a 2011 building designed by Daniel Bonilla, which anchors the campus block. The Bonilla building is covered in multi-hued green ribbon sunshades. The William McDonough + Partners building generates a new complementary and contrasting composition which joins the two buildings in a unified whole.”

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The WonderFrame is just the start of the building’s sustainability. The LEED Gold-seeking building will include solar chimneys to allow for natural ventilation. Rooftop solar will help power the building. Cradle to Cradle certified fabric and auditorium seating will comprise some of the building materials.

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Universidad EAN students will accompany the design team in interviews with vendors, according to Schickedantz, for the building where they will one day learn Cradle to Cradle Concepts. He told Inhabitat, “Ultimately, the intent is to inspire students to develop and market their own products. We envision a new generation of products which incorporate circular economy concepts and improve the world.” Groundbreaking is expected later this year.

+ William McDonough + Partners

Images courtesy of William McDonough + Partners

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